AAD 251: Art & Visual Literacy

AAD 251: Art & Visual Literacy


First, carefully read through the assignment for the final, underlining important parts of the instructions. Then start your work that will result in two essays

Write your essays in a word.doc and then do two things:

1. copy all of your text and paste it into Section #2, :Assignment Materials” in the “Upload Assignment: Final Exam” under Assignments in Blackboard.

2. then as a backup, attach your word.doc file under “Attach File.”

Deadline for posting your final is Tuesday, June 10, 3:15 pm.

Follow the format below. The total available points for the Final is 21.

I. Response to Reading

A. read the article, Matthew Rampley, Visual Culture and the Meanings of Culture
PDF file posted on Blog site for class under “Assignments/Final Exam.”

B. Write a two part essay (totalling at least 600 words, double spaced – about 3 pages).
The essay needs to address both issues noted below (1 & 2) that are expanded upon in the reading. In the essay, cite at least two references, one being something from the Rampley reading AND at least ONE other resource you have researched (but not Expedia). Cite these references in your essay with footnotes.

Part 1: (about 300 words)
1. Throughout the term we explored visual literacy in many ways. In the reading above the author writes of “visual culture” and how the term “culture” advanced from a process to an outcome or product. One use of the word “culture” can be the description of a set of values that defines quality. In this use, one who has “culture” has high culture or sophistication and broad knowledge, mainly visualized through paintings and sculpture. Or the word may be used to describe the general context in which any kind of artful object exists and this “visual culture” includes other kinds of visual imagery, like television, film, advertising, and comic books.

Offer your definition of “visual culture” as it existed in historic times and again in contemporary times. Give at least one example of an art work that is culturally important to the historic world (1800 and before) and one art work important to the modern world 1800 up to the present. (one art work for each period = a total of 2 works) Explain the work’s importance to the historical and cultural period. Then compare how these visual images have changed over the course of time, especially from the historic period to modern.

Part 2: (about 300 words)
2. We have studied the theory of Heinrich Wölfflin as he set up the Principles of Art History, which create ways of seeing the difference between art from the Renaissance period and Baroque periods, like the transition from linear painting to painterly painting. On page 13 of this article, he notes that one can learn details of the values of culture by looking at the details of everyday objects, for instance, the design of a shoe. Whether the wearer’s shoe is a high button-up of fine leather or a well-worn sheep skin shoe tied to the foot with twine would indicate the social class and wealth of the individual, as well as an indication of the time period of the artwork.

Select one everyday object that would represent the visual culture in which you live and with which you are very familiar. Describe this object, its origins, and its use in everyday life. Then describe how this object can inform us of the culture in which it exists. Is it a totally functional object? Have versions of it risen to a level of high art? Does ownership of the object suggest a certain social status of the individual? If so, what is that status? Do you think this object would have a place in a museum of art? Why or why not?

II. Exhibition Review

A. Select an online exhibition from among the websites listed below and review the one exhibition using your knowledge of visual literacy.

B. Write an Exhibition Review (at least 500 words, double spaced – about 2 pages) and address the following points, citing at least two reference resources you have referenced. Cite these references in your essay with footnotes.

C. Exhibitions to consider reviewing. Choose one. Note: some sites below are more detailed and include many images. Don’t be overcome by all that is available. You may have to go through some sections in a summary way.

1. Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter in early 20th century
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, contemporary British
fashion designer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

3. The Floating World of the Ukioyo-e, Japanese color woodblock prints from the 18th century, Library of Congress
(you may need to go to HTML version when requested)

4. Faces of the Frontier: Photographic Portraits of the American West,
photographs documenting the people exploring the American West from 1845 to 1924, National Portrait Gallery
Imagine that you are an art critic for the Eugene Weekly that has an educated but non-specialist audience. You have been asked to write a review of one of the above virtual exhibitions listed above. Your task is to inform the readers about the experience of viewing an art exhibition online and to provide in your review:

a. an overview of the exhibition’s content and why someone should view
the site,
b. some basic information about the artist(s) and the time period in which
he/she/they worked,
c. the content of the exhibition, selecting at least two works to discuss in
detail. Talk about their context in the exhibition and artist’s career (early or late) and what style of art the works represent. Specify why you selected these two artworks to discuss and why they are more powerful than other works.
d. express your opinion about the exhibition. Do you like the exhibition theme?
Do you think it is important to history? How are you attracted to the artworks? Do you like them? Would you like to own works by this artist? Why? Make sure your opinions are grounded with specific evidence. If you don’t like the work, use details from the work itself to explain your views and contrast this artist with another who might have been more successful at a similar project.


Additionally, do you think learning is an important part of the museum experience? How did you learn? What were the most effective tools in the exhibition website that encouraged your learning? How would you evaluate the website’s introductory text, artist bio, labels for individual artworks, and video/audio material (if any)? What did you think was the best way to provide such information? What other alternatives might there be? Would you provide other kinds of materials in other formats?

Start this project by choosing one of the websites to work on, then look through the whole website devoted to the exhibition. Consider the format of the online exhibition. Was it an effective way of experiencing the art without traveling to the museum? What are your initial impressions of the arrangement of the website and what it offered?

This is NOT a research paper so you do not need to provide any biographical detail on the artists, but you can provide context by bringing in materials from exhibition labeling, the media and discussions with others. Critics tend to write from their own backgrounds, so feel free to bring in things you have learned in class or from your own readings.
III. Submit Final

A. Write your two essays (which will total about 5 double-spaced pages) in Word.doc. Save the file as:
Last name, Final.doc

B. Submit in on the Blackboard site. Instructions for submitting are in the Assignments section, Final Exam.

C. All Finals due:


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